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5 Reasons Why Making a Will Should be Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted on January 5th 2017

Research carried out by the Law Society has shown that 73 % of 16 to 54-year-olds and 36% of over 55-year-olds don’t have a Will. Yet many don’t know that the consequences are not worth the risk.

From not being able to choose who inherits your assets, to not knowing who will look after your children, not making a will can have terrible consequences for those you leave behind. Below are the 5 most compelling reasons why making a Will should be your New Year’s Resolution:

  1. Without a Will, you cannot choose who inherits your estate and assets.

–  Your spouse doesn’t automatically inherit it all. It’s a misconception that if you die without a Will your spouse automatically inherits the whole of your estate. Because of this, it is very important that you make a Will to protect them.

Being separated won’t stop your ex-partner from inheriting your assets. If you are separated, but not divorced, a Will is a vital document to have. If you die without one your ex-partner could receive all of your assets, regardless of your wishes. This can be particularly upsetting if you have a new partner.

Only family members can inherit, not friends. If you die without a Will and have no family members all of your estate passes on to the Crown.

You cannot leave items to specific people without a Will. For example, a family heirloom or sentimental item.

  1. You cannot choose who collects & distributes your estate to the right people.

When you make a Will you are required to appoint executors. If you die without one, administrators are appointed without your input. Their roles are vastly the same – they are responsible for collecting in your assets and distributing your estate in accordance with your Will, or the law.

This is an important role, but without a Will you cannot choose who will undertake it. They should be trustworthy people who have the ability to fulfill the role.

Unfortunately, executors/administrators can be financially liable for any mistakes they make. This can cause stress for the family member assigned to the position. In the worst case scenario, if the wrong person is chosen and they make mistakes, it could also cause friction within the family you leave behind.

If you appoint an executor in your Will they can be family members, friends or a professional (such as a solicitor). This can be advisable if the estate is complex, and can reduce tension between family members.

  1. Without a Will, your funeral wishes might remain unknown.

 Organising a funeral to meet the wishes of a loved one can be stressful and upsetting for loved ones if these wishes are not clearly set out. Fortunately, you can include details about your funeral wishes in your Will. For example:

  • Whether you would like flowers at your service, or would prefer donations be made to a good cause.
  • If you would like to be buried or cremated.
  • Whether you would want a religious ceremony or a humanitarian affair.
  • The music, clothing, and every other aspect of your funeral.

This can be particularly important if you have not, or do not wish to, discuss your wishes with family or friends before your death.

  1. Importantly, you cannot choose who would look after your children.

 If you have children under the age of 18 you can name guardians in your Will. The guardians would be responsible for looking after your children if both parents died before the children reached the age of 18. Without a Will, the Court would decide. Unfortunately, they might pick someone you would not have picked. This can be very distressing for those left behind.

  1. You cannot decide what happens to your pets.

We are a nation of animal lovers, so it’s a good idea to include a provision in your Will to say who would look after your pets if you die. You might want to leave them to a family member or friend. Alternatively, you could leave them to a charitable organisation and request that they find a new home for your pet. Making provisions for your pets in your Will can give you great peace of mind that they will be looked after.

Making a Will is a resolution you can keep!

Contact Paul Armstrong or Louise Holmes on 01244 312306 to arrange a FREE 30-minute initial consultation. We can advise you of the fastest, most cost-effective way to create a Will today!

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306